• John Keogh, M.D.

AtlantiCare’s SED offers ways to stay safe during dog days of summer


Here are some tips and information for staying safe, healthy and injury-free as you enjoy summer. (Courtesy Photo)

“It was a camping catastrophe, complete with a cookout cut.”


“This was a yardwork ‘Yikes!’ moment I didn’t expect.”


“But I didn’t feel a bat bite me.”


We hear similar comments at AtlantiCare’s Satellite Emergency Department (SED) in Hammonton, a full-service emergency department, all summer. Our SED team of physicians, nurses, technicians and other clinical and support staff sees a range of summer illnesses and injuries. We treat allergic reactions, bruises, cuts, broken bones, high fevers, severe headaches, severe trouble breathing and more. We also treat life-threatening injuries and illnesses and transfer patients who need continued care to our AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s Mainland or Atlantic City campuses or other care centers.


There’s plenty of summer remaining—precisely six weeks. As your neighbors, we know what a great season this is for experiencing Hammonton and the region.


Following are tips and information for staying safe, healthy and injury-free as you enjoy summer.


Heat stroke: Heat stroke can be fatal. Signs include body temperature above 104 F, rapid and strong pulse or heartbeat, dizziness or loss of consciousness and inability to rehydrate/cool down. Dial 9-1-1 immediately, move to a cool environment, and drink water.


Heat exhaustion: Less severe than heat stroke, heat exhaustion can quickly escalate to heat stroke. Signs include excessive sweating, general weakness, a weak, but fast pulse or heartbeat and nausea. If you have these symptoms, cool down and drink water. If they persist or worsen, call 9-1-1.


Non-fatal drownings: It doesn’t take much liquid in the lungs to cause a serious problem. Sometimes issues can occur hours later. If you “inhale water,” and have atypical breathing, persistent cough, tiredness, mental confusion, or blue lips or skin, get emergency care.


Eye injuries: Always use protective eyewear when you are near debris and/or potentially toxic elements. This includes when mowing the lawn or using fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.


Bites and rabies: If a bat, wild animal or someone’s pet bites you and you don’t know its rabies vaccination status, go to the ED. If you wake with a bat in your home, get to the ED that day. A bat could bite you as you sleep without your knowing it, and the bite would be virtually undetectable.


Bite infections: Bite wounds are prone to infection. Get a medical evaluation.


• Stings: You can have life-threatening allergic reaction to a sting even if you haven’t in the past. Signs include trouble breathing, hives, swelling, and/or tightness in the throat. Seek emergency care immediately.


Finally, remember “SUMMER”:


Swim safely—Swim in lifeguard-protected waters only. Supervise children in or near water. Teach children to swim. Never mix alcohol with water-related activities.


Use headgear—Use protective headgear when bicycling or participating in any activity with the potential for head injury.


Manage medications—Keep and carry an updated list of prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. Store and take them as prescribed.


Make sure to protect yourself and others from illnesses—Be up to date on COVID-19, flu and all vaccines and boosters. Avoid others if you are sick. Wear a mask when indoors in crowded situations. Clean food preparation surfaces. Use separate utensils for raw and cooked food to avoid food poisoning. Always wash hands frequently before and after preparing and eating food.


Eat well and hydrate—Enjoy Jersey Fresh produce as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water.


Remember to check on seniors to ensure they are cool, comfortable, eating well and drinking water, especially in extremely hot weather.


In a life-threatening emergency, including for symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, dial 9-1-1 immediately. View wait times at AtlantiCare’s SED and other emergency departments here. Learn about AtlantiCare’s SED and our other services in Hammonton by visiting AtlantiCare.org.


John Keogh, M.D. is the medical director at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Satellite Emergency Department, Hammonton.